Judgement Day

I was listening to a CBC podcast the other night, and there were a couple of people talking about their feelings about various famous authors and musicians. The conversation was really about whether or not our judgements about the behaviour of artists should influence how we feel about their art, and if we should decide to like or not like their art because we don’t agree with the conduct, opinions or morality of the artist.

I listened with some interest because the commentators were both people who identify themselves as lgbtqia2s (https://www.mic.com/articles/28093/lgbtqia-a-beginner-s-guide-to-the-great-alphabet-soup-of-queer-identity) and one of them also identified theirself as a gay black non-binary person. My immediate reaction to their conversation was curiosity because although I don’t identify myself as a member of a minority, generally, I do still identify as a person who has lived my life on the outside of established social, cultural and religious communities in which I live.

My political opinions are progressive within the Canadian meaning of that word meaning that I tend to share and support the politics of liberal leaning parties, and instinctively tend to feel sympathetic and supportive of anyone who self identifies as an outsider, whether as result of ethnicity, race, gender, ethical, sexual and religious views, appearance, etcetera. Which generally means that I’m somewhat judgemental about other people who I perceive as judgemental against all those people I’ve previously mentioned. So I’m inclined to be pretty judgemental about myself, since I know perfectly well that my own behaviour over my life has failed at times to live up to my own ethical, moral and social standards.

So the questions being raised are important to me. Is it safe for me to listen to music I like or even love, if it has been created or performed by someone I judge to have behaved badly? Say, like Michael Jackson, who now appears to have been a pedophile. Should we erase all of our collective memories of his music and dance, and never moonwalk again? Should we ban any mentions about Sir John A. MacDonald, who, in addition to being a drunk, a racist about first nations peoples and their rights, an outright unapologetic sexist. The fact that our nation exists because this man, and other similarly flawed men founded it continues to be true, even if I don’t like it. History is made by flawed men and women. Music is sung by creepy assholes. Great classical art was drawn by perverts we wouldn’t allow in our living rooms.

Should we hide the Mona Lisa, because her painter was a narrow minded bigot who was probably gay but denied homesexuality over and over again to gain social acceptability, not to mention contracts that paid for his work and allowed him to survive in times we can barely imagine.

I found it fascinating that these two commentators came to the conclusion that excluding people from your life because they happen to have been flawed, made terrible mistakes in their relationships, or even committed heinous crimes, should not necessarily mean that you deny the value and beauty of their art as fruit of the poison tree. Doing so would deny human beings the ability to grow, to make amends and try to do and be better than their worst selves. Doing so could remove the incentive for people to change and reflect on their worst behaviours, and thereby learn something.

Should I forever hate my father because of what he inflicted on me as a child, even in the certainty that he committed himself to looking after my younger sister for most of his life after she became a quadriplegic in her early twenties. He did bad things when he was younger, but did amazing things that made her life possible when it had become impossible. So I try to hate the behaviour I judge offensive and admire his enormous contributions to my sister. So I will never forget either, but I judge him to have been a deeply flawed man who showed the capacity for love. I love my father, but see him clearly for all that he was in his life, not just those things that harmed others but also those things he did that contributed.

Which is how I think we should look at historical and living people alike. We should make every effort to be our better selves, no matter how damaged we are or have been in our pasts. We should be as transparent as we can be, without expecting it of others. Fight for equality, justice and freedom, but make allowance for human frailty, both for ourselves and for others.

Another brick in the wall

Life is sometimes simply getting through the day. No matter how much I would like to face each day with hope or happiness, sometimes I struggle with everything that going on in my world, or not going on.

The past ten days it’s been hard to muster up the energy to write my blog. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, but rather than I’ve always been of the belief that if I don’t have anything good to say, then it may be better not to say anything at all. Nobody wants to hear from a downer or a constant complainer.

Let’s face it. It hasn’t been a great week or two.

One of my favorite cousins died. He was one of my favorites because although we didn’t really know each other all that well, he was someone with similar interests to mine, particularly researching and growing the family tree. I’ll miss his quiet thoughtfulness and good ideas.

This past week has seen an explosion in the new coronavirus spreading out from Hunan, China. In a blog post I wrote last year about global warming, and why it isn’t the most important thing in the world, I didn’t mention pandemics, but this could just as easily become one, and it could kill millions around the world before it runs its course. Scary.

Trump was acquitted in Congress. This blog is not generally explicitly political about US politics or politics outside of Canada at all. To me his acquittal demonstrates with certainty that a person doesn’t have to be a quality human being to get ahead in life. He lies, lies and lies some more, and his followers, which include almost every Republican in the US, doesn’t care whatsoever.

Sometimes life is just getting through the day.

Kobe died. Along with his daughter and eight others. In a helicopter crash. Being famous and mostly a good person is not guarantee of anything either. Certainly, Kobe is a inspiration to millions of kids, and this won’t change that. Still it sucks.

And to top it all off I’ve had this bloody flu all week and still feel the pits. My car broke down. And I’m still distressed about the state of my relationship with my NP. Life would have been so much simpler if I had been conventional, instead of not. My partner would have been so much happier. I don’t know if that would have been true for me, or not. But I’m still the man I have always been, and although I’ve followed the more difficult path, I’m not actually sure that there was any other possible path for me.

So, in summary. I hope the next week or two things improve, especially my attitude. I’m going to work a little harder at counting my blessings, and let go of my current miasma.

2000 Followers

Sometime today I had my 2000th reader Follow me on WordPress and 750th Follower on social media outside of WordPress. Wow! Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog, as well as to the many people who have responded to my blog with numerous “Likes” and even more views. 2750 Followers as of today’s date.

Blog Statistics January 1st, 2019 to January 15, 2020

Pied Piper fable is a curious analogy to a 21st Century blogger on health and lifestyle.
  • TOTAL POSTS 60
  • TOTAL COMMENTS 472
  • AVG COMMENTS PER POST 8
  • TOTAL LIKES 4,194
  • AVG LIKES PER POST 70
  • TOTAL WORDS 44,081
  • AVG WORDS PER POST 734.68

When I first started writing this blog in 2011 I expect to have only a very few followers, likes and views, and didn’t really take blogging all that seriously until spring of last year, when I started to blog about the health challenges I am currently facing, as well as about various strategies related to a lot of different issues. Still, it is currently focussed around health issues, with a subtext running through about the story of my family and my romantic relationships.

So my blog is being read by a lot of you, and I really appreciate your genuine responses and comments over the past year. You’ve given me a lot to digest, and have made me feel both heartbroken, from time to time, and inspired, from other letters and comments. Your courage at facing real physical and emotional health problems inspires me to continue with this blog. If the information the blog conveyed gives anyone comfort knowing that they are not alone, or inspiration to take action to improve their situation, or simply education that allows them to understand someone with these problems, then I have done a service.

I am a true believer in the concept, “Tu Um Est”, which roughly means, It is Up to You! which is the motto of my undergraduate university, The University of British Columbia. I’m also a strong believer in lifelong learning, and acknowledge that while knowledge and information are purely temporary, changing moment by moment in ways we can’t even begin to anticipate, learning is an abiding, persistent process resulting in our constant evolution as human beings.

2750 Followers of Rain Coast Review.  Thank you for reading me, and responding with so many messages and Likes.

This blog celebrates these processes, and are in themselves evidence of constant change in my understanding of life today. Diseases thought to be incurable are now cured on an everyday basis. Things we thought were immutable truths have been proved false, or, if not totally false, incomplete. As I write into the future I will continue to seek out new ways to improve the quality of my life, through sharing the wisdom of others, passing on the things I’m learning as I go, and hopefully continue to illuminate and educate my followers, casual viewers, and fellow readers.

Once again. Thank You. It is humbling to realize that people appreciate what I’m writing, and are kind enough to say so.

Pain Mastery Institute is shut down

The Pain Mastery Institute, which I’ve been blogging about for a couple of months, is shutting down due to financial considerations.

The Pain Mastery Institute, which I’ve been blogging about for a couple of months, is shutting down due to financial considerations. Their courses have been useful to me but not nearly as useful as if they had survived long enough for me to get through the whole program.

The main thing I learned from the courses is that much of what is available for mastering chronic pain is drawn by observed people as they take actions or make decisions which assist them in managing their pain, or ameliorating the amount and intensity of pain.

While the course is gone, and the Institute website shut down, this doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning my pursuit of effective pain management strategies. So keep watch for my blog because I will coming back with a new approach soon.

Update on Intermittent Fasting

Starting on Monday this week I began a five day fast, which so far has been a bit frustrating and challenging. The second day and the third day I found myself absolutely starving, which is odd because up until now, fasting for three days a week, 36 hours, I have never been really hungry.

It takes a bit of a different strategy for longer fasts, like a five days on, four days off, but I’m learning and will be putting together a new primer based on somewhat longer fasts.

Boing 737 crashed after being shot down near Tehran

This has been a really sad and horrific week for me, and for many Canadians. 147 Canadian residents and citizens were killed this week by an airline shot out of the sky by Iran, either by mistake or by design. Either way, we have all lost so much and I can’t really even begin to make any sense of it. I am just sick over it, and I didn’t know anyone personally on the plane, although I do know some family members.

The Prime Minister of Canada has been highly visible in his demands for accountability for this disaster, both from Iran and the United States governments, who put into play the violent altercation that led to these deaths, whether by misadventure or by malice.

I don’t know whether to rage or to cry, or both. I’m not expecting any closure any time soon. Iran is virtually certain to lie through their teeth on this, and Trump will do no better. This is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved in the flight, and all of their country mourns their loss.

Happiness

Happiness is not only the absence of unhappiness, but also an affirmation of a kind of state of grace, which encompasses all the good and bad in life, but as a kind of continuing sense of gratitude. Happiness is not necessarily always being a happy person, but is rather the presence of a profound sense of joy in life itself, for good and ill alike.

The happiest person I ever met is my sister Kathryn, who had a life altering car accident in her early twenties which left her paralysed Although she died a couple of Christmas seasons ago, her joyful embrace of life made everyone around her more aware of the reasons to celebrate, even in the face of massive disabilities and chronic pain. She suffered from serious pain, life threatening deficiencies caused by her disability, and severe restrictions in mobility, or even taking care of herself physically. It used to take her hours each and every morning just to get out of bed, go to the bathroom and get ready for the day.

Through it all she spread joy to everyone she knew.

I am making only one New Years Eve vow this year. To bring an attitude of acceptance and joy to my everyday life, and to celebrate the joy that all of the people in my life bring me every day.

Deviant Life #33 — Discerning Deviant

FIRST / PREVIOUS / NEXT For as long as I can remember, the Polyamory community has had a strangely sex negative segment that was largely born of the desire to distance themselves as much as possible from the widespread assumptions by people outside of the community that polyamory was all about fucking around indiscriminately. It’s […]

Deviant Life #33 — Discerning Deviant

Lèse-majesté

Nest of the Orange Eagle – จากพี่น้องคนเสื้อแดงที่

Definition

1 a : a crime (such as treason) committed against a sovereign power

b : an offense violating the dignity of a ruler as the representative of a sovereign power

2 : a detraction from or affront to dignity or importance

Lèse-majesté (or lese majesty, as it is also styled in English publications) comes into English by way of Middle French, from the Latin laesa majestas, which literally means “injured majesty.” The English term can conceivably cover any offense against a sovereign power or its ruler, from treason to a simple breach of etiquette. Lèse-majesté has also acquired a more lighthearted or ironic meaning, referring to an insult or impudence to a particularly pompous or self-important person or organization. As such, it may be applied to a relatively inoffensive act that has been exaggeratedly treated as if it were a great affront.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/l%C3%A8se-majest%C3%A9-2019-09-25

For most of us, living in Canada or most western countries, think that criticism of our government is a fundamental human right, acknowledged and supported by our laws and courts. Within some limits, defying authority or calling authority into question is one of the most crucial of our human rights to the maintenance of democracy.

This fundamental human right is not so fundamental if you live in Thailand. To most Canadians Thailand is just a great place to go on a vacation, not a place where human rights take a backseat to the monarchy. In Thailand, criticizing the government comes with very real consequences, including long jail terms.

And you don’t have to be the author of the criticism, just ask Chanoknan “Cartoon” Ruamsap, who made the mistake of “sharing” a controversial Facebook entry. A pro-democracy activist, Chanoknan “Cartoon” Ruamsap fled into exile on Sunday, ahead of arrest by military order for sharing on her Facebook account a BBC profile of His Majesty the King.

Chanoknan ‘Cartoon’ Ruamsap, seen here at home in Bangkok, says she had just 30 minutes to decide, then pack and flee ahead of a junta arrest order. (FB/Moo.Cartoon)

But in the end, it’s me who made the decision. The time I spent to decide was so short and quick. I had less than 30 minutes to decide whether to stay or to leave. What is difficult is the fact that I won’t return after this journey.
Then I went to say goodbye to dad and mom. Everyone was shocked but agreed. No one wanted me to be in jail for five years merely because sharing a BBC news story.
On the first day I arrived here, I only cried because I saw no way out. Everything seems puzzling and confusing. I didn’t know how to deal with them. I kept asking myself a question whether I made the right decision to seek refuge or I should go back, and I can meet family and friends as usual after serving the jail term. But I got the answer that I couldn’t backtrack now.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/politics/1403522/activist-chanoknan-flees-lese-majeste-summons

And lest you think that these laws are unique to Thailand, with its backward government and oppressive system of administration of justice, think again. There are current laws in Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, and Spain, in Europe against insulting the crown, and committing lese majeste, under which an offender could also spend years in jail, or face significant fines or other penalties. Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as the African nation of Morocco, and the Asian nations of Malaysia and Cambodia all have similar laws on the books, which are various enforced in modern times.

So why would a modern nation, like the Netherlands, or Denmark, maintain what seems like something out of medieval times. Don’t they understand civil rights, and the right to speak out to authority? Well, it turns out, not so much. Both of those countries, as well as Thailand, do allow criticism of the government, or of government policies. What they don’t allow is insulting and gratuitous attacks on the crown, or on the government leadership.

In Canada there are no lese majeste laws, as such, but even in Canada it is important to frame critical comments against the government or the crown in language that is not personally insulting to her majesty, the Queen or her family. But not because there is laws against it, but because it is unnecessary to personalize criticisms against the government or crown.

It’s fine to attack the monarchy, if you would prefer a republic, for example. Just do it with class and reasonably good manners. Most Canadians would be quite unhappy to hear someone committing lese majesty, even if its not illegal.

Even in countries like Canada or the United States freedom of speech has some limits.

BCSC Bans Author and two others.

https://www.bcsc.bc.ca/News/News_Releases/2019/56_BCSC_panel_imposes_lifetime_bans_and_$1_7_million_in_financial_sanctions_for_fraud/

2019/56
September 20, 2019

Vancouver – The British Columbia Securities Commission imposed a total of $1.7 million of financial sanctions on three B.C. men and two mortgage investment companies after finding that they committed fraud. 

Patrick K. Prinster and David Scott Wright were each ordered to pay $250,000 and Donald Bruce Edward Wilson was ordered to pay $150,000 for diverting investors’ funds from mortgages secured by real estate, which was the purpose described in marketing materials.

The panel also permanently banned Prinster, Wright and Wilson from the following activities:

  • Trading in or purchasing securities or exchange contracts
  • Using exemptions set out in the Securities Act
  • Becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter
  • Acting in a management or consultative capacity in the securities market
  • Engaging in investor relations 

The panel noted that Prinster, Wright and Wilson diverted the funds and carried out their misconduct “despite warnings and concerns expressed to them from multiple sources.”

The panel imposed financial sanctions of $561,479 on DominionGrand II Mortgage Investment Corporation, and $500,961 on DominionGrand Investment Fund Inc.

Almost all of the $1.1 million raised from investors was lost, though the panel did not find evidence that Prinster, Wright or Wilson had been personally enriched by the diversion of investments.

I received a notice of the Securities Commission decision this morning, and have spent the last few hours reviewing their decision and considering how to react to this disheartening news.

Whether or not to appeal the decision is pretty much moot. Neither I nor the other two individual respondents in this civil administration case had the financial resources to defend ourselves in the first place. Both of the companies named in the decision haven’t existed as legal entities for years. We certainly don’t have any more financial resources now than we did when this case first was started.

Legal processes are ferociously expensive, and lawyers fees pretty much out of reach for most people caught up in this type of hearing. If we’d actually benefited personally from the diversion of investment funds to the parties, maybe we would have had the money to defend ourselves and our reputations. We didn’t. However, as acknowledged in the decision, we were not accused of benefiting personally or receiving any significant benefits from the wrongful use of the investors funds.

In reality the pressure of being under the gun by the BC Securities Commission and the BC Financial Institutions Commission at the same time, pertaining to the exactly the same set of circumstances left me pretty much stripped of any ability to do business in the ordinary course, or to protect myself from numerous lawsuits that eventually cost me my share of the equity in my home, and in other assets as well.

A net result to me personally, is that I filed bankruptcy a year and a half ago, after pretty much losing everything I owned.

And in the middle of all of this, my health went to hell, maybe as a result of the incredible stress of the situation, or maybe just an accumulation of unrelenting pressure from almost every part of my life, personal, financial and professional.

There is a point at which I no longer functioned at any reasonable level, and much of my world collapsed around me.

For those of you who follow my blog, both this one and Rain City Review, will know that I’ve been struggling to find my way back to a meaningful future, where once again I can hope for something, and begin to work towards restoring my damaged reputation, and improving my financial circumstances.

But before I can move on I need to deal with this decision, and accept responsibility for what I have wrought. Clearly I took a wrong turn at some point, which led to the destruction of everything I built. Life is lived one day at a time, and I honestly did my best, each and every day, both in regards to these two companies and the others which failed, either in concert with these or on their own for other reasons not useful to go into here. My best wasn’t good enough.

I worked really hard to get in so much trouble, and cause so much damage to other people’s financial position, despite my every effort to contribute positively to my investors’ and clients’ financial lives. Clearly I made a number of wrong decisions, some only understood in hindsight, and not at the time.

I feel like hell for what happened, and my role in it. It is not useful to look for excuses, and it certainly won’t make my investors, family or friends feel any better. I don’t know that anything will.

All I can do at this point is move forward with my life, and vow to do better in the future. I’m sorry. I’m extremely disappointed in myself and my decisions that led to this. I will continue to deal with the consequences and fallout from this decision, and make such reparations as I can under the circumstances. I’ll do my best.

Waiting for this decision, after waiting more than half a decade for the hearings to take place, has been excruciating. But I’m sure no more for me than for the investors harmed by these transactions.

It’s not enough, I know. But its what I can do. I’m sorry. I wish things hadn’t turned out this way.

Dailiness

“…I can’t abide what the world has become, the frozen-ness of our product this evil thing that we kiss the ass of every hour. I want a dailiness that is free and beautiful.”

Definition of dailiness

daily or routine quality ORDINARINESSthe dailiness of family life

As I have often said before, “I love words and language.” Discovering a new word is, for me, like finding a twenty dollar bill on the street. It is being rewarded for the simple act of curiosity about the ordinary things of life, in the dailiness of every day.

The ordinariness of evil is its most pervasive aspect. Horrible is insufficient to express our feelings for people who routinely destroy people.

In some uncomfortable way, the word brings to mind the ordinariness of both good and evil in our lives. Great deeds are seldom made out of massively heroic and exceptional circumstances. Rather, great deeds are the result of the very dailiness of an individual’s existence. Routinely going about doing good, as done by Mother Teresa, to her fellow humans in the slums of India, came to her as a very ordinary thing to do by a very ordinary person. The extraordinary thing about Mother Teresa is that her virtue was lived every boring day, and every exciting day as well. Her humility was a revelation that great good could be the result of just that… a pretty ordinary person committing to extraordinary acts, even as daily habits.

Mother Teresa was faithful in a dailiness of her ordinary life, lived with extraordinary outcomes.

Evil is likewise ordinary, an accumulation of the tiny acts over a period of time which ultimately result in great evil, despite the banality of the individual steps that gets someone there. Hitler’s Nazi Germany was not evil because the railroads ran on time, it was because in the midst of one of the most efficient industrial states of the twentieth century, human beings were destroyed equally efficiently and with banal malice by other humans as a daily matter. This was so much so that the destruction of millions of lives was just another aspect of the dailiness of life in the Third Reich.

Words have the potential to stimulate great changes in us. Words matter.

As human beings we are responsible for our actions, and the necessary consequences of those actions. Accepting, and remembering the harm we cause others is the foundation of permanent change and growth – a vow to do better is nothing if it is not followed up by the small actions involved in turning virtuous behaviour into daily routine.

Nude Photography – Sex and Art and Love and Lust

This is a reblog of an earlier posting from 2011. A lot has changed in eight or nine years, including my experience of a sense of broken trust with my wife of somn years.

The truth is that I was fooling myself, in believing that my wife was okay with my photo shoots with nude models. The only thing she was okay with was not talking about it, or expressing her feelings on the subject. This is now over, and she is quite vocal about her point of view, which is negative in general, and frustrated in particular.

She honestly believes that she never agreed to the terms of our marriage as I understood them, almost forty years ago. The whole idea of “open marriage” or a “poly” relationship is fundamentally offensive to her sense of what is necessary for a marriage to work, ultimately. Today, while we continue to cohabitate, she no longer considers our marriage valid, and considers herself to be unmarried, or perhaps, never really married at all.

In some ways things are actually better between us, in that she is now open to express her honestly held beliefs and her emotions. Now we’re both somewhat bitter about the whole thing, and yet still are trying to find a way to function as a couple.

Life is funny. Despite everything we love each other. Can’t always stand each other, but still have deep affection and respect. We just don’t agree on marital fidelity and a lot of other things. At the heart of it, I’m the one incapable of cleaving to one and only one woman. She’s convinced that it is a function of my inability to really trust anyone completely. She might be right. But just saying it doesn’t change it for me, and it doesn’t resolve it for her.

So. Limbo.

Out Here in Paradise

A close friend of mine, a photographer in Vancouver, with well-developed skills and a wonderful eye, is struggling with a major conflict between his intimate relationship with a long-term woman partner and his even longer term artistic exploration of the female form through nude photography.

I think it’s important to define both – what I mean by an intimate relationship with his partner, and what I mean by nude photography.  They may both seem pretty self-evident, but trust me when I tell you that neither is as simple as it seems.

My friend is struggling because his wife of about a year is absolutely mortified that her husband wants to take pictures of naked women, and spend time in intimate situations with naked women who are not her.  This is despite the fact that her husband, before marriage, was one of the best known local boudoir photographers in…

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